The Blog

OUTED FROM THE COLD

12:00 AM, Apr 15, 1996 • By HARVEY KLEHR and JOHN EARL HAYNES
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To Hall, nothing ever happened. The FBI was unable to develop evidence against him independent of Venona. He lived unnoticed and undisturbed until the press showed up on his doorstep a couple of months ago and he made his request for peace.

But his crimes -- and those of Perlo, Wheeler, Barr, and Magdoff -- should not be forgotten. These men betrayed the United States and the rest of the Free World. They abetted a totalitarian and expansionist state ruled by Josef Stalin. They lied about what they did. They defamed those who spoke truthfully about what they did. They allowed others, too, to malign the truth- tellers. They contributed to the miseducation of millions by helping to perpetuate the illusion that it was hysteria, not real evidence of treachery, that prompted the hunt for spies in the early years of the "twilight struggle. "

Yet even if it were legally possibly, it would seem inappropriate to prosecute these spies now. They are old; they committed their crimes 50 years ago. Nevertheless, the passage of time should not relieve them of the responsibility to account for their acts. Nor should their countrymen -- journalists and historians in particular-ignore the dishonorable and villainous conduct of the spies still among us.